Jill's Picks

undesired

The Undesired by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

Icelandic mystery author Yrsa Sigurðardóttir's thriller weaves together two seemingly disparate tales from decades apart. This unconventional story is infused with unexpected twists, engrossing characters and a delightfully shocking, unpredictable ending. The audio narration is wonderful and can be downloaded from My Media Mall. The APP for MyMediaMall is Libby.

shrill

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

There are few times where I say, this book is wonderfully amazing and should be required reading for everyone, but this is one of those few times. This smart, deeply insightful, so, so personal and extremely well-narrated (by the author if you listen to audio, simply fabulous) book illuminates the raw feelings of another person, leaving you to examine your own preconceived notions concerning the bodies of those around you. It's also the perfect time to jump on the bandwagon with the advent of the television show starring Aidy Bryant in March of 2019 on Hulu.

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Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Oh, the soothing and clipped flatness of John Darnielle’s voice is music to my Midwestern ears. Author Darnielle is a stellar audiobook narrator, adding the emphasis that he first heard in his head while writing the novel. He’s also one of the few narrators that doesn’t add inflection for varying characters and somehow it works just perfectly. Universal Harvester begins with one of our main characters working in a video store during the 1990s and hesitantly investigates the strange occurrence of several videos being returned containing suspicious, somewhat macabre imagery. Darnielle crates a slow, spreading suspense that at times shocks but is never gratuitous or banal.

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Ararat by Christopher Golden

A perfect book for those wanting something a little different than the mainstream mystery. It’s captivating and slightly unnerving with a lot of heart. Set in modern day, an explorer-couple journeys to Ararat, the mountain in Turkey Noah’s Ark supposedly landed after the flood according to the Bible. The novel explores the idea of what if Noah’s Ark was real, and a group of disparate entities, religious, academic, military, and anthropological, were brought together to research what was inside. Author Christopher Golden (Snowblind, Tin Men) weaves a tale that teases out the lives of each individual character, using their beliefs and reflections on past experiences to determine their actions as they face what may or may not be dead, trapped long ago in a tightly sealed coffin, at the time of the flood. The novel ends with the true icing on the ark, a completely original and wonderfully mind-blowing ending. The audio version was wonderful, read by Robert Fass, whose subtle accents and articulation suck you headfirst into the heart of the snowy, dark mountain. 

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A Natural History of Hell: Stories by Jeffrey Ford

It’s mind-boggling to me that Jeffrey Ford isn’t a household name in horror along with your Joe Hills, Stephen Kings or Shirley Jacksons. His short stories are thoroughly original, eerie, and penetrate the psyche during the dark parts of the day. Such stories include that of an evil angel set in a desolate and isolating backdrop, a reanimated skeleton with a will of its own, and a devilishly quirky examination of clergymen as saint or sinner. A Natural History of Hell is a collection that you check out from your library for the first story, then purchase for your home collection.

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The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Though the print version is filled with wonderful photos that correspond to the text, I downloaded the audio, read by Orlean. First off, why isn’t this woman a professional voice-over actress? Her voice is soothing, strong, and emphatic–all the most exquisite ingredients that strengthen the truly captivating contents. Orlean’s research into this book alights with the Los Angeles Public Library and a fire that just short of decimated the building and its contents. From there, we are taken on a journey through time and space, pulling fantastic tidbits from library history that intersect with the history of the LA Public Library.

 

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